Colposcopy is a test to look at the vagina and cervix through a
lighted magnifying tool (colposcope).
The colposcope magnifies the view 2 to 60 times so the doctor can
see any problems that would be missed by the naked eye. A camera can be hooked
to the colposcope to take pictures or videos of the vagina and cervix for a
The doctor may put vinegar (acetic acid) and sometimes iodine
(Lugol's solution) on the vagina and cervix with a swab or cotton balls to see
areas of abnormal cells more clearly. Samples of the abnormal cells (biopsies)
can be collected and looked at under a microscope.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.